Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
Starlings cause many difficulties for homeowners and businesses alike. They can quite commonly consume and/or contaminate grain bins in agricultural settings. They also create unsanitary conditions on, in, or around buildings by nesting, roosting, and feeding. Their nests are usually made from highly flammable materials that can lead to fire hazards if in the wrong area. It isn’t unusual to find a starling in a dryer vent. Further, starlings can roost in massive flocks that lead to unsightly amounts of droppings, leading to health and sanitation issues that include corroded buildings, sidewalks, and automobiles.
Once soiled, these areas also provide an incubation area for a host of diseases that include, but are not limited to, histoplasmosis, encephalitis, salmonella, meningitis, and toxoplasmosis, alongside common ectoparasites associated with them such as fleas, mites, and lice. Sheer nest size can lead to entire soffit lines needing to be replaced, complete attic remediation, and product loss due to contamination from feces in the case of businesses and warehouses.
Starling control solutions can be simple small jobs that involve installing just a few screens, medium-sized jobs that involve replacing soffit lines and removing debris, to large jobs that involve thousands of feet of bird netting.
Typical products used when remediating starling problems include Shock-Track® Flex-Track®, Bird Wire®, BirdSlide®, BirdSpikes, and 1/4″ StealthNet® bird. All of these products are typically used in situations that provide high roost potential, in which a larger area of control needs to be applied.
While starlings tend to be receptive to some visual deterrents, they are readily receptive to optic disc gels, which work in a “visual” way to the bird but are not obvious to the human eye.
These products are specialized. Many jobs require far less sophisticated approaches that may only involve sealing off a few access points.
Trapping is also an important tool at our disposal. In many cases, starlings are not necessarily a reoccurring issue, and a homeowner may only have a nesting pair or two, or possibly discover a starling in a dryer vent or attic space. In these situations, one or two starlings may be trappable. Trapping starlings is not as practical in flock situations due to their increased intelligence. In these instances, if large-scale exclusions are not budget-friendly, precision shooting with air rifles may be viable.
No matter the size of your starling problem, feel free to call Blue Ridge Wildlife & Fisheries Management, LLC if you are in Staunton, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Lexington, Covington, Roanoke, Salem, Smith Mountain Lake, Charlottesville, Ruckersville, Lovingston, or Richmond so we can properly address your sparrow conflict.
European starlings began by inhabiting Eurasia and northern Africa, but it now exists across six continents due to human release. One hundred birds released in New York City during the 1890s led to a current amount of over 200 million starlings across North America, all the way from Canada to the Caribbean. Widespread attempts to alleviate the pressure of this nuisance species across North America were deployed early on in their inhabitation of the country but were ultimately unsuccessful in slowing its spread.
A starling’s diet can vary greatly, but it typically consists of a wide array of insects, seeds, and fruits. Eastern birds feed primarily on insects on seed material, especially in urban/suburban environments where home bird feeders are readily available. In addition, varying parts of Virginia have to contend with this bird’s rapid decimation of fruit supplies in orchards or vineyards.
The starling will naturally nest in available cavities in naturally occurring trees. However, starlings make excellent use of manmade structures for their nesting purposes. You can also find starlings in dryer vents, soffit returns, attics, and even range vents and flue liners. Starlings will also overtake man-made boxes for other birds, such as martin houses and blue birdhouses, even driving off birds that are already nesting in these areas. The starling will build huge nests within these spaces and return multiple times to the same location, in some instances having nesting areas that encompass entire soffit lines or take up large swaths of attic space.
Typically starlings are found in nesting pairs or family groups. Depending on the structure, though, multiple family groups could be supported. Once nesting season is over, starlings gather in groups that could run into the thousands, if not more. Some murmurations have had as many as 100,000 birds. Once a flock has reached a number this high, the damage can be unseemly and quickly add up; and the same locations will be used year after year by the flock.
Interested in Starling Removal Services?
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